Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Chief, Division of Commercial Policy (Smith)

Participants: Dr. L. S. Rowe, Director General, Pan American Union
Assistant Secretary Clayton
Mr. Collado, OFD
Mr. Smith, CP21

Dr. Rowe called on Mr. Clayton and said that he had received intimations that the Department desired a postponement of the Inter-American Technical Economic Conference scheduled to open in Washington on November 15. He said that in his opinion another postponement of the Conference would be a mistake and that an indefinite postponement would be a grave mistake. He stated that a postponement would have unfortunate repercussions in Latin America and would adversely affect relations with the United States. He added that invitations to the Conference had gone out some months ago and names of delegates were already being received.

Dr. Rowe was told that we recognized that postponement of the Conference might not be well received in Latin America but we nevertheless felt that it should be postponed; there had been extensive economic discussions at Mexico City which covered most of the principal points on the agenda for the November Conference; we hoped to hold a United Nations conference on trade and employment in the early part of next year, which would also cover a number of points on the November agenda; the Ninth International Conference of American States was scheduled for Bogota in 1946, which would also cover much the same ground; there were so many conferences being held or scheduled that we were scarcely able to keep up with the work connected with them; and we were doubtful that we could meet in a manner satisfactory to the Latin American countries the requests which they were likely to make, and an unsuccessful conference would be worse than no conference at all.

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Dr. Rowe said that if the November Conference were something new, if preparations were not so far advanced, and if the Conference had not already been postponed twice at the insistence of the United States, he would be inclined to agree with the above points. He maintained his position, however, that postponing the Conference would be a serious mistake. Mr. Clayton thanked Dr. Rowe for letting him have the benefit of his views.

  1. H. Gerald Smith, Assistant Chief, Division of Commercial Policy.